Friday, November 21, 2008

Is Marketing Bad?

I was recently at the store and saw these crackers. Of course, my food-loving son wanted them right away. When I glanced at the box, all I saw was cheddar crackers. Sounds OK. When I got home and actually looked at the box, I didn't know if I should laugh or be impressed at their cracker shapes. According to their website (http://www.eco-planet.net/), they hope to spread an environmental message to kids with a healthy, tasty cracker. Which is all good, but honestly, my kids will get a kick out of the shapes but probably not read the box. I love, though, the attention to detail on the cover: solar panels, electric car, wind turbines, biking, organic farm. I think they pretty much got it all on one cracker box.

This led me to my ever present internal debate about marketing. My gut reaction is I can't stand it. Is so pervasive and in your face that I feel like I can never escape it. It is just too much and too influential, especially to our children. It is very difficult to control it. But, what about the marketing that brings to my attention products that I feel are beneficial? I love looking at the adds in Mother Earth News and Threads (I love to sew) to see what new products are out there. Without Magic Cabin, I would not be aware of all the alternative, natural toys out there. But, I can not stand Toy's R Us ads. I am feeling a little hypocritical. Where is the line? Is there a way to market without being so invasive? I would love to see it.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Water Rights

Ever since I started volunteering for UUSC, clean water/water rights have been near and dear to me. The thought of people dying over something as basic as drinking water breaks my heart. It is so easy to take for granted that when we turn on the faucet: 1. Water will come out and 2. It is safe to drink. While some areas of the world have always had water issues, I feel with all the climate change going on, even more people are being dramatically affected.

According to UUSC, "Around the world, 1.1 billion people do not have access to safe drinking water. Each year, dehydration from disease claims the lives of nearly 2 million children." Additionally, many countries charge people for water. People who are barely surviving have to literally pay at the pump to get water. I encourage you all to go to UUSC's site (http://www.uusc.org/) to read more about this important issue.

This wonderful video is making the rounds on the blogosphere and is a great way to start to get involved. I love it for its alternative view on the holidays and ways to make a difference to so many people.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

My Two Cents

I finally received my copy of the winter UU World. After reading so many posts about the ethical Thanksgiving dinner article, I was anxious to read it myself. Honestly, I didn't find it offensive. I just found it factual. Those facts are true. But, how I respond to them does not make me an ethical or unethical person. I am not sure why people took the article so personally. I don't think anybody could make the claim that they are completely ethical in all that they do. It is nearly impossible. I certainly do not look down at people if they are not eating local, organic food. But, I do think it is reasonable to know the full (environmental, social) cost of that food. It is up to you and how comfortable you are with it. Of course there are millions of people who can not afford to eat completely ethical (and is that even possible?). But, I know that I can at least make an effort, even if it is a small one. For my one income, family of five, there is no way that I can make sure my food is completely ethical. I also don't feel that I am unethical. I do feel, though, that I now have a better picture of where my Thanksgiving food is coming from. It is not all or nothing game. Every little change matters. For us, I think we will pass on the cranberries. Perhaps a small change could be affordable to you too.

Friday, November 14, 2008

One of many reasons


I have a VERY VERY chatty 4 year old. We spend a lot of time together and yet he never manages to run out of things to say. This is even more unusual given the fact that the four other of us are pretty silent, introverted folk. Where did he come from!?! We often wonder this. But, he really is a ray of sunshine. I look at him and think everyone should have such a happy soul in their life. I hope he never loses this. Today he was overjoyed to discover that: "Mom, mom! Look! I can control my eyebrows!" It made his day and mine.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Membership

I have been thinking a lot about what it means to become a member of a congregation. I talk every Sunday with potential members to our congregation. It is really interesting to hear people's reactions to becoming "official" members. Some are very blase and just want to know how they can sign the membership book. Others are very concerned that they follow the exact process to membership and don't miss any steps. Some become completely paralyzed by the thought of actually signing their name to anything (even though they faithfully volunteer and pledge).

What does it mean to you? Do you feel the need to sign the membership book to feel like you belong? Have you signed a membership and still not felt like you were really a member of the community? While the number of members a congregation has is measured by the names in its Membership Book, I feel it can be a weak indicator of the real membership of the congregation. Sure, you can have 300 in the book, but only 100 active members. Or the reverse, perhaps you you have 150 active members but only 75 have signed. What is the true indicator of membership? Should those people who don't sign, but in every other way act in covenant with the congregation, be considered members? Conversely, what use is it to have lots of members in the book if they don't show any real commitment to the congregation? How do you measure numbers like that? Is it really even important?

I would be curious to hear what you consider it is to be a member. Why or why not is it important to you. Can you only be in covenant with a congregation if you have signed to book? How many books have you signed? Was it hard or easy to join? Did you take any classes? Did it feel like a special occasion? Did you expect more then what happened? I would really appreciate any insight you may have. I am looking to rework our process and make it as meaningful as possible.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thank You Veterans

I have many veterans in my immediate and extended family. I also have family members still in the service. I thank them and all veterans for their willingness to defend us and the freedoms that so many of us take for granted. While I don't always agree with our military directives, I do support all the men and women out there doing the best job they can. Thank You!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Sad Day

Today our much beloved 14 y/o dog Sydney passed away. I am just heartbroken. Mr. Plaidshoes and I got her soon after we were married. She was a stray and didn't bark for almost a year after we got her. She seemed to know we were her family right away. She never needed a leash and pretty much just loved us and we loved her. It is hard to believe we won't be seeing her everyday. I hope she she is in a happy place. Goodbye Sydney.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

To quote U2:

It's a BEAUTIFUL day!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Don't Forget (how could you, really...)

Sometimes we take for granted what an awesome right we have in being able to freely vote. Please don't be one of them!

VOTE!
Each vote really does count. Do you really want to be the one who lost your candidate the election? (Plus, you lose every right to criticize our government if you didn't make the effort to get out there and cast your ballot ;-)
Update: After standing in line for 1 1/2 hours with three kids - I voted! Yeah!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Morning After

You could not have asked for more perfect weather for trick-or-treating. I remember often having to wear my winter coat while it was snowing on Halloween! Usually being very upset that my cool costume was being covered up ;-) My Egyptian Princess*, Harry Potter and Dinosaur* had a wonderful night. It was also extremely profitable:

Now, can you believe it is already November!






*That's right, I made those!